Complex sentence

Traditional grammars organize sentences into 4 categories:

  • Simple sentence
  • Compound sentence
  • Complex sentence
  • Compound-complex sentence

A complex sentence has just one independent clause and at least one dependent clause:

Rex barks when the postman comes.
Rex barks [INDEPENDENT CLAUSE] when the postman comes [DEPENDENT CLAUSE].
when [DEPENDENT MARKER WORD] the postman [SUBJECT] comes [VERB]

Richard Nordquist defines “clause
Identifying Independent and Dependent Clauses (OWL)
Clauses (Richard Nordquist at
The Main Clause (chompchomp)
Dependent Clauses: Adverbial, Adjectival, Nominal (Towson)
Clauses and Sentences (Internet Grammar of English)

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